The lesser striped swallow (Cecropis abyssinica) is a large swallow. It breeds in sub-Saharan Africa from Sierra Leone and southern Sudan south into eastern South Africa. It is partially migratory with South African birds wintering further north. West African birds leave the north of the breeding range in the dry season.

This is a bird of wooded, mainly lowland habitats, and is replaced in montane grassland by the greater striped swallow, Hirundo cucullata. It is common and often found around human habitation. The lesser striped swallow builds a bowl-shaped mud nest with a tubular entrance on the underside of a suitable structure. The nest has a soft lining, and may be reused in later years. The nest may be built in a cave or under a rock overhang or a tree branch. This species has benefited from its willingness to use buildings, bridges, culverts and similar structures. Given the choice, it will select a high nest site.

The eggs are glossy white sometimes with a few brown spots; three eggs is a typical clutch. Incubation is by the female alone for 14–16 days to hatching. Both parents then feed the chicks. Fledging takes another 17–19 days, but the young birds will return to the nest to roost for a few days after the first flight.

The lesser striped swallow is 15–10 cm long. It has dark blue upperparts with a red rump and a rufous-chestnut crown, nape and sides of the head. The underparts are white with dark streaking, and the upper wings and underwing flight feathers are blackish-brown. The underwing coverts are tawny. The blackish tail has very long outer feathers; these are slightly longer in the male than the female. Juveniles are duller and browner, with less contrast and shorter outer tail feathers. There are five or six subspecies differing in the extent of the underpart streaking

The lesser striped swallow has heavier and darker underparts striping, a deeper red rump, and a brighter head colour than the larger greater striped swallow. The lesser also prefers less open habitats. It feeds mainly on flying insects, but has been known to eat small fruits. The flight is erratic, and the call is a nasal zeh zeh zeh zeh zeh.
Lesser Striped-Swallow
Date Location Count
2021-02-23 08:30Manso Domeabra4
2021-02-05 16:13Nsuta Forest1
2021-02-04 06:43Antwikwaa--forest edge & farm scrub1
2021-02-15 06:24Atewa Range--upland forest & ridge10
2021-02-14 14:54Atewa--farm scrub and degraded forest2
2021-02-16 07:53Sagyimase ("Atewa Range farm scrub")--mining concession4
2021-02-21 09:00Bassera (Ancien village)40
2021-02-05 10:42Lefini Reserve--Lefini River / Mbouambé
2021-02-23 08:00Semuliki NP2
2021-02-18 10:30Queen Elizabeth II NP--Ishasha sector 220
2021-02-08 16:00Bwindi-Impenetrable Forest NP--Entrance Road10
2021-02-12 08:13Bwindi-Impenetrable Forest NP--Waterfall Walk4
2021-02-17 08:00Bwindi-Impenetrable Forest NP--Buhoma20
2021-02-01 12:01Queen Elizabeth II NP--Maramagambo Forest10
2021-02-03 09:04Bwindi-Impenetrable NP--'The Neck'4
2021-02-20 08:00Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge20
2021-02-19 07:15Queen Elizabeth II NP--Lake Bunyampaka11
2021-02-20 16:30Chimpanzee Guesthouse20
2021-02-24 09:05Kibale Forest NP--North end5
2021-02-21 07:00Kibale Forest NP20
2021-02-23 08:55Kibale Guest Cottages2
2021-02-23 08:03Bigodi Swamp5
2021-02-22 08:30Bigodi Community Walk2
2021-02-24 08:06Kibale Forest Camp1
2021-02-25 09:00Budongo Forest Reserve--Royal Mile3
2021-02-26 10:30Murchison Falls NP--Woodland savannah3
2021-02-21 09:01Akagera Np -- Mohana Plain and Lake Rwanyakazinga Picnic Site2
2021-03-01 07:11Lake Mburo NP5
2021-02-23 08:23Nyaruhuru River @ Akagera Rd
2021-02-08 08:30Mabamba Swamp--Main channel2
2021-02-17 06:29Lake Victoria--Mfangano Island4
2021-02-24 17:28Gembe Hills (west)1
2021-02-16 16:48Eastern Gwassi Foothills6
2021-01-31 11:58Lake Victoria--Kendu Bay1
2021-02-04 07:05Kisumu Waterfront (incl. Ndunga Swamp, Hippo Pt. and Impala Park)
2021-02-02 07:15Kakamega Forest NR (General)2
2021-02-22 06:29Angama Lodge (Ol Kurruk)1
2021-02-05 06:40Maasai Mara NR, Eastern Section1
2021-01-31 08:00Shewa Robit area12
2021-02-21 15:29Aberdare Country Club1
2021-02-08 06:55Upper Magadi Road (from Corner Baridi to Oltepesi/Olorgesaillie)
2021-01-31 09:51U of N Kabete Campus & Field Station (incl. Loresho Swamp)
2021-02-21 07:00Dulecha
2021-02-24 07:56Nairobi River @ National Museums of Kenya (incl. Boulevard Hotel)3
2021-02-26 14:31Tarangire NP--Entrance Gate4
2021-02-21 07:06Nairobi NP
2021-02-25 13:00Tarangire NP--Tarangire Safari Lodge7
2021-02-20 10:11Dandora WTP, Ruai1
2021-02-26 08:00Magongo Hills2
2021-02-10 17:36Sandberg Fynbos Reserve1
2021-02-24 06:30Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge2
2021-02-26 07:26Mokolo Dam Nature Reserve3
2021-02-13 15:20Marakele NP
2021-02-06 07:02Karoo NP--Klipspringer Pass Road1
2021-01-31 08:53Pilanesberg NP--Manyane2
2021-02-09 09:02Kgomo-Kgomo3
2021-02-28 05:54Wolfhuiskraal to Kgomo-Kgomo5
2021-02-13 06:25Nylsvley Nature Reserve--Vogelfontein1
2021-02-07 16:20Houtrivier Dam1
2021-02-09 15:00Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden2
2021-02-09 05:49Diepsloot Nature Reserve6
2021-02-07 07:08Dainfern4
2021-02-04 06:37Northcliff Ridge Eco Park2
2021-02-20 06:33Roodeplaat Dam Nature Reserve1
2021-02-06 11:52Modderfontein Reserve2
2021-02-27 10:11Rietvlei Nature Reserve1
2021-02-14 06:14Mkhombo Nature Reserve1
2021-02-13 06:26Marievale Bird Sanctuary--Hadeda Hide1
2021-02-13 13:54Hwy B8 (btwn Malindi and Garsen)
2021-02-11 12:45Msambweni--Mukurumudzi River and Estuary1
2021-02-19 14:46Kruger NP--Punda Maria Camp15
2021-02-13 06:37Sabaki River Estuary
2021-02-06 17:15Chwaka Bay2
2021-02-17 12:31Kruger NP--Phalaborwa-Letaba Rd4
2021-02-11 05:13Singita Ebony Lodge6
2021-02-10 05:15Mala-Mala Game Reserve6
2021-02-06 21:06Kruger NP--Skukuza Camp1
2021-02-06 07:27Kruger NP--Old Tshokwane Rd/S1284
2021-02-02 09:07Drakensberg Nest Hotel area2
2021-01-31 06:04Hamburg Estuary2
2021-02-13 14:54Karkloof--Conservancy
2021-01-31 05:45Karkloof--Mbona Mountain Estate4
2021-01-31 07:43Hilton--Hilton Bush Lodge2
2021-02-08 11:30Hilton--Doreen Clark NR6
2021-02-28 11:42Albert Falls NR2
2021-02-10 07:55KaMsholo Bushveld Safaris (formerly Nisela Safaris)1
2021-02-12 00:00Pietermaritzburg--General area1
2021-02-13 05:59Pietermaritzburg--Bisley Road2
2021-02-13 07:08Pietermaritzburg--Bisley Valley NR2
2021-02-13 07:05Hole in the Wall10
2021-02-07 05:34Manyoni GR (please be more specific)22
2021-02-03 16:06Manyoni GR--Zebra Hills Lodge18
2021-02-06 13:01Mkhuze GR (please be more specific)
2021-02-10 16:43Phinda GR
2021-01-31 14:58Umlalazi NR2